Has the Future of Bitcoin Arrived?

The first-ever bitcoin future jumped after it began trading Sunday as the increasingly popular virtual currency made its debut on a major U.S. exchange. The futures contract that expires in January surged more than $3,000 to $18,010 four hours after trading launched on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

Futures are a type of contract in which a buyer and a seller agree on a price for a particular item to be delivered on a certain date in the future, hence the name. Futures are available for nearly every type of security but are most famously used in commodities such as wheat, soy, gold, oil, cocoa and, as dramatized in the Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd movie “Trading Places,” concentrated frozen orange juice. There have been other attempts to bring bitcoin investing into the mainstream. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, twin brothers who own large amounts of bitcoin, tried to create an exchange-traded fund based on bitcoin, but federal regulators denied their application.